Exploring Oklahoma's Native American Sites

Day One

Morning – This morning we begin in Sallisaw at Sequoyah’s Cabin. This log cabin dates back to 1829 when Sequoyah developed a syllabary that gave the Cherokees a written form of their language (allow 45 minutes). Next, we head to Muskogee and The Five Civilized Tribes Museum that is located in the historic 1875 Union Agency building. The museum is dedicated to preserving the culture of the Five Civilized Tribes - Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee Creek, and Seminole (allow 45 minutes).

Afternoon – After lunch in Muskogee we will visit Ataloa Lodge Museum located on the campus of Bacone College. Here we will see an impressive collection of kachina dolls along with Native American art. Just a few miles away is the Fort Gibson Historic Site which was instrumental in the settlement of Indian Territory during the 1800s (allow 1 hour).

Evening – Our dinner and overnight will be Tahlequah.

Day Two

Morning – After breakfast we arrive at the Cherokee Heritage Center in Tahlequah to learn more about the Cherokee culture and the Trail of Tears. We step out the back door of the museum and into the Ancient Village where we will see life as it was for the Cherokees before European contact. As we walk through the village we will see demonstrations such as basketry, and flint knapping as well as get an opportunity to learn about stickball and how to use a blowgun (allow 2 hours).

Afternoon – This afternoon we will arrive in Tulsa for lunch then visit the Gilcrease Museum one of the country’s finest facilities for the preservation, study and appreciation of American art and history and home to more than 10,000 paintings, drawings, prints, and sculptures by 400 artists from colonial times to the present (allow 1 ½ hours). We depart Tulsa and travel to Pawhuska to visit the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church often referred to as the Cathedral of the Osage. Completed in 1915 the cathedral contains 22 stunning stained glass windows. One of the most historically significant windows depicts Osage tribal members with Father Schoenmaker (allow 45 minutes).

Evening – We will enjoy dinner in Ponca City before settling into our hotel for the evening.

Day Three

Morning – First stop for today is the Standing Bear Park and Museum where a storyteller brings to life Ponca Chief Standing Bear and his legacy as we view the 22 foot bronze of Standing Bear and visit the museum which gives honor to the six Native American tribes around Ponca City (allow 1 hour).

Afternoon – We arrive in Oklahoma City for lunch before arriving at the Oklahoma History Center. We get a magnificent view of the Oklahoma State Capitol with the Guardian statue atop the dome from the museum's atrium. The center contains Smithsonian quality galleries that preserve the history and heritage of Native American culture along with interactive exhibits that present Oklahoma’s heritage (allow 1 1/2 hours). In downtown Oklahoma City, at the Red Earth Museum, we find traditional and contemporary Indian paintings, carvings and pottery on display along with a gallery that offers Native American art to purchase (allow 45 minutes).

Evening – Enjoy dinner in Oklahoma City at one of the many restaurants available in the Bricktown Entertainment District before settling into a hotel for the evening.

Day Four

Morning - We depart Oklahoma City this morning and head south to Sulphur and the Chickasaw Cultural Center. A short introductory film in a recreated 18th Century council house begins our journey through the Chickasaw history and culture. Experience a stomp dance with holograms and a glowing campfire that recreates this sacred ceremony. See an array of artifacts and visit the village before enjoying lunch at the museum (allow 2 ½ hours).

Afternoon – This afternoon we visit the Chickasaw National Capitol Building in Tishomingo which was the seat of Chickasaw Government from 1898 to 1907. We will see Chickasaw Governor, Douglas Johnston's, office and the National Secretary's vault as they would have looked in 1898 (allow 45 minutes). The Trail of Tears removed the Chickasaw people from the south to Indian Territory and the Chickasaw Council House Museum preserves this history of the Chickasaws. Next we will visit Fort Washita which was built in 1842 to protect the Chickasaw and Choctaw Tribes (allow 45 minutes).

Evening – Our lodging this evening is at the Choctaw Casino Resort where we find a variety of options for dining and gaming.

Day Five

Morning – Enjoy breakfast at the casino along with some additional free time to relax or play. We will depart mid morning and head east.

Afternoon – This afternoon we visit Fort Towson which was established in 1824 to protect the Choctaws and was the ending point for the Choctaw's Trail of Tears in 1832-1834 (allow 45 minutes). Near Millerton is the Wheelock Academy that served for more than a century as a Female Seminary for Native American girls and was operated by the Choctaw Nation (allow 45 minutes).

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